The Kuleshov Effect and Soviet Montage

Posted by Eric Meiring


Soviet Filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein


During our meeting this week, the conversation shifted to the way art can affect the perception of the viewer, and, in turn, how these perceptions can be manipulated by the artist.

An extremely important example of this manipulation is the Kuleshov Effect. The Kuleshov Effect was developed by Soviet film theorist and director Lev Kuleshov during the 1910s and 1920s. An editing technique, and a theoretical precursor to modern montage, the Kuleshov effect is a mental phenomena in which the viewer derives more meaning from multiple shots back to back, than from a single shot alone. Kuleshov’s films demonstrated that when a static shot of a man’s face is shown in combination with another shot, the viewer’s interpretation of the man’s expression is dramatically altered. When the man is preceded by a bowl of soup, viewers see the man’s expression as hungry; When the man is preceded by a girl in a casket, viewers see the man’s expression as sad. Critics hailed Kuleshov’s editing techniques as innovative and emotionally powerful; of course, the man’s face was still a completely static shot. Here, Kuleshov’s theory and technique was proven valid and effective even under the highest level of scrutiny.

This theory was later expanded upon by Kuleshov’s student and master director Sergei Eisenstein. Kuleshov’s theory appears in the opening sequences of Eisenstein’s masterpiece, “The Battleship Potemkin,” and is made use of throughout the film. The modern montage owes much of its existence to these two filmmakers, and montage’s ability to affect and influence the viewer is an important structure to remember when interpreting a work of art.


The Kuleshov Effect: 


Making Something Out of Nothing

As we round out the year in Pages with our third and final experience, we will see Noah Purifoy’s work in the exhibition Junk Dada. Working with Bryan Moss, visual arts artist-in-residence, we decided to first explore this work with as many of the five senses as we could engage. Armed with a box of “stuff”, Bryan introduced Purifoy’s work, a brief history, a biography, and images of his assemblages and collages.

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This was no typical lecture. During the presentation, students wrapped their fingers in yarn, paper, and other small unidentifiable objects. Students listened, asked questions, and worked together in small groups of three and four, with the occasional lone student breaking free to create a work on their own. Students listened and built with the “stuff” they found scattered on their tables or desks. What was the end goal? Whatever they wanted it to be – this kind of freedom often a challenge when students are staring at a blank page trying to translate their thoughts into writing. But with the materials, students had a lot to say, as they looked at Purifoy’s work, considered the choices he made as an artist, and engaged in fluid discussions about Dada, art and social justice, the museum, and community.

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There were no crisis moments of creative or maker’s block; no one got stuck. No one thought this activity of lecture, learning, and play felt weird. Everyone learned something, most likely learned many things. Students all knew what to do with their slivers of paper, buttons and beads, yarn, feathers, and sparkly things. We discussed how objects can be arranged to represent an idea or how those objects can be used to build a narrative. This is one way to integrate pre-writing and the making process: encouraging students to be physical in the process, be thoughtful with their choices, and most of all, to play.

Potential Project


1.)   Collage image/images that speak to you in your journal provided to you for the PAGES program


2.) Overlay previous page, make sure it is blank šŸ˜‰ Create a page of writing that reflects your collage or whatever you are inspired by.


3.) Cut each line into strips, but be sure not cut them out completely.


4.) Fold back and lay flat different combinations of words to manipulate your writing (cut-up technique) until your image and words connect to you, and each other.



5.) Glue down strips of writing to finalize your cut-up.


6.) Extract words, and embellish image with color pencils to make your art resonate with you and your viewers.




Hope this is informing and helpful

Sincerely, Bryan Moss

Quick and Dirty Guide: Pablo Picasso


Quick and Dirty Guide for Pablo Picasso

  • Pablo Picasso – born on October 25th, 1881 in Malaga, Spainbaby Picasso
  • Originally named Pablo Ruiz, later took on his mother’s name,Picasso
  • (14) Picasso's Mother (15) Picasso's Father
  • Child prodigy, Picasso learned everything about painting and drawing from his Father José Ruiz, who was a painting teacher (Art world refers to his father as the master of pigeons; his father’s art wasn’t that good)
  • the-barefoot-girl-18955dd1b6ebf789f8622e63c96a77e46ba7 7abebe93edffad0b12a19b41f6db98a1  bc36869aa71f020fdfe16e257603e9f1 Early MPB_110.843_2008_10_10 Picture-11 Portrait-of-the-Artists-Father-Pablo-Picasso-1896
  • At age sixteen, Picasso was accepted into the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Madrid, Spain
  • first-communion-1896 science-and-charity-1897 the-altarboy-1896
  • Picasso’s time was short lived at the Academy, for he disliked it and left
  • In 1900, Picasso landed in Paris; influenced by the nightlife, he created works of women dancing and drinking
  • (2) Nightlife1900 arton8333blog_231 a-spanish-couple-in-front-of-inn-1900 margot
  • 1901-1904 Blue Period: Picasso’s dear friend Carlos Casagemas committed suicide, forcing Picasso into a depression – Picasso expressed himself through monochromatic blue paintings – some paintings referencing his friend, Carlos, and other paintings were more symbolic.
  • PabloPicasso-La-Vie-1903 self5 (4) blueperdiod2 (16) celestina
  • 1904 – 1906 Rose Period: Picasso met Fernande Olivier, his new lover. Helping Picasso out of his depression and awakening his rose period, this pre-cubist style of work featured reoccurring characters such as harlequins, circus performers, and a classical examination of the figure – this period was referred to as the Rose Period, because Picasso used a pastel earth tone palette of pinks, blues, browns, reds (My personal thoughts are that this body of work has a late morning feeling about them – or a rainy spring)
  • (5) RoseperiodCIRCUS1 (6) RosePeriodCIRCUS2 (7) RosePeriodCIRCUS3
  • 1907 – 1912 African and Cubism – being influenced by African sculptures and masks, and their deconstruction of the human form (which create fractal geometric shapes) was the early influence on Picasso’s cubism – one can see this represented in two acclaimed works: Les Demoiselles D’avignon and Portrait of Gertrude Stein
  • (17) Picasso Africa (8) africancubismWOMEN PORTRAIT OF GERTRUDE STEIN
  • Picasso’s later influence for cubism came when he met Georges Braque – they would challenge the perception of the eye by reevaluating isolated parts of paintings and reconstructing them in new paintings, which creates different points in time captured in one painting – they would push this to its limits by adding collage, such as paper, wallpaper, and material.
  • (12) Womanwithlute portuguese (7) CubismPortrait
  • 1937-World War II Guernica – April 1937 Guernica was bombed by German and Italian Warplanes, which sent Picasso into a spitting rage – that year Picasso painted his most important painting ever; Guernica – the painting is in black, white and grey (which represents death – also, the way the information was received with was through newspapers) and you can see the newspaper representations by the black vertical dashes that are heavily implemented center left of the painting. Guernica traveled the world to raise awareness about the war and after fifty years, it was finally returned home to Madrid, Spain in 1981 where it has remained to this day
  • (11) guernica
  • Post War Picasso: Picasso took all his innovation and applied it to his craft, allowing him to become prolific at his craft – Picasso went from painting in different styles to working in different mediums, including three dimensional, collaging and print making
  • (18) Picasso Litho (19) Picasso Sculpture (20) Picasso Collage
  • Picasso passed away on April 8th, 1973
  • 7374_112270171074 63823_4
  • Video Tutorial below of Picasso


Space, Shapes and the Silences Between


This is my silent space: my bedroom after dusk when the kids are in bed and I can have some time alone to meditate, journal, think.

“When he heard music, he no longer listened to the notes, but the silences between.  When he read a book, he gave himself over to the commas and semicolons, to the space after the period before the capital letter of the next sentence.  He discovered the places in the room where silence gathered; the folds of curtain drapes, the deep bowls of family silver.  When people spoke to him, he heard less and less of what they said and and more and more of what they were not.”

– Nicole Krauss, The History of Love

“Music was my refuge.  I could crawl into the spaces between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.”

– Maya Angelou, Gather Together in my Name

At the round table discussion with teachers, Dionne, and artist-in-residence Bryan Moss, we talked about how shape and negative space in the pieces from the After Picasso exhibition at the Wexner Center could be used as inspiration to discuss writing and the conscious use of silence, space, and the unsaid in poetry and prose.

The above quotes could be used as beginning inspiration.  In addition, here is a post called “Silence that Transforms Us.” In it, I write about silence in the classroom, and it includes a couple of really good links for more information on silence in conversation in order to listen, silence as an “endangered species,” and the disappearance of natural soundscapes because of human noise polluting the landscape.  Slightly tangential, but could maybe be used in some creative way.

-Brandi Lust

Blogging Challenge, Identity and Picassoheads

Task One: This week’s Edublog’s blogging challenge asks us to reflect on our online identity compared to our “real life” identity.  On my blog site and on Twitter, I tend to keep it professional.  I’m interested in education and technology and I think writing, reflecting and reading about education helps make me a better teacher.  For example, I’m completing this post because it’s something I’m asking my students to do (and if you “talk the talk” you need to “walk the walk”).  In “real life” I’m interested in my children and doing fun things outside of school.  I usually post these topics on Facebook.  My Facebook style is more personal and whimsical.

Task Two: One of our visits to the Wexner Center this year will be to experience “After Picasso: 80 Contemporary Artists.”  Some students and I played around with Picassohead when exploring possible avatars. I encourage PAGES students and teachers to take a look at the gallery; you might see some of our self-portraits and you can even make your own.  This is a fun way to introduce some of the elements of Picasso’s style!




A Take On Speaking and Listening

ELA teachers sometimes gloss over the CCSS’s Speaking and Listening standards. Based on conversations with friends who employ 18-25 year-olds, this is evident in some graduates’ job performance. Our task is to help students work through problems with diverse partners in and out of class, assess information and data from a variety of media in a variety of formats, judge speakers’ use of rhetorical devices and their success or struggles therein, build and share presentations that go beyond [yawn] simply clicking through a PowerPoint, use technology for an authentic purpose in their talks, and adapt their speech to a given context at hand.

Many ELA teachers have received little or poor training for these standards. At one institution I know, almost every single professional development session in the last three years has been structured around collecting and using data to inform instruction; that’s useful, of course, however informed and interesting PD built around mastering the CCSS’s Speaking and Listening standards would likely spurn a sharper understanding of how and why we’re collecting said data and ultimately how to improve our students’ ability to articulate their thoughts, use their voice to elevate their places in the world, and give authentic attention to other communicators.

It’s essential we value our students’ skills in speaking and listening and it’s essential we structure class time to speak to these skills beyond merely a presentation or speech a year. After all, how can our graduates get what they want out of life if they can’t speak fluently and cogently to those that can facilitate opportunities for them? Even the professional literature falls short of a thorough discussion of these standards. Pathways to the Common Core (Calkins, Lehrenworth, Lehman) devotes a meager 5% of their book to aiding teachers foster success with these skills. Provided we remedy our lack of attention here, we can grow effective communicators, but any other course of action seems flawed. Having students sit quietly and zone out to our lectures isn’t the same thing as building sharp listeners, though in my observations this can sometimes be what some teachers think. Below are some of the key power standards in this strand:

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.SL.1: Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.SL.2: Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.SL.3: Evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric (CCSS, 2014).

Above, we are shown to be responsible for a comprehension of the nature of sound itself: how it persuades us and can be used in presentations to great effect. I suggest using Julian Treasure’s work as a starting point here. To introduce yourself to some of his work check out: The Four Ways Sound Affects Us and Sound Health in 8 Steps

Additionally, we are held to show students the importance of image selection and how images tell a story and are needed to aid human memory of key issues and details. I like Nancy Duarte as a resource to help me here. Check out her free digital book Resonate:!page0.

We even have to discuss the nature of film: scene construction and choice, cinematography, and how these artistic choices can alter a message. Having students make propaganda films for and against an issue of their choice can really make this point come alive and the film festival you have with your students will make a great (and often humorous) impression.

The third strand above asks ELA teachers to employ tactics for students to use rhetoric and students can’t be left isolated to use strong metaphors, sound reasoning, and to avoid logical fallacies like ad hominem attacks without our guidance.

Speaking is about more than formal presentations or speeches. We need to value developing oral communication skills for all verbal communication situations our students might face. See below:

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.SL.4: Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning, and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.SL.5: Make strategic use of digital media and visual displays of data to express information and enhance understanding of presentations.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.SL.6: Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and communicative tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate (CCSS, 2014).

Having students conduct a speaking project is not the same as modeling to students how to do that project efficiently and effectively. And even if we do model speaking and listening behavior and show examples, students might not see the importance of these skills in school as they’re rarely valued in their other classes either. I take a term score to assess their speaking as a form of active learning and participation in the construction of our class knowledge using this rubric:

In some ways, I wonder if Speaking and Listening might be the most important skills for students to hone. I think of powerful and successful people like former President Lyndon Baines Johnson who basically never read a book in his life and yet achieved an immense amount for himself, his family, for Texas, and for civil rights in this country (obviously, Vietnam tarnished his legacy). JFK wasn’t much of a congressperson or Senator (achieving little) but he rose to the presidency out of nowhere, in part, due to his gifted orations and ability to listen and connect with others. I think of the multimillion dollar businessperson Keith Ferrazzi whose writing skills aren’t much to be admired, but whose business acumen (listening for what matters and ignoring what doesn’t) and speaking skills (quite seductive to audiences and customers) rival anyone’s. Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche was an incredible writer and thinker, but his inability to connect with others and speak confidently about his ideas relegated him to obscurity in his own lifetime. I suppose my point is immense success and financial stability can follow simply if one knows how to listen, what to listen for, how to speak well, when to speak, and to whom you should speak to get what one wants out of life.

Ultimately, I suggest students listen to people who have what they want and then borrow ideas as they build their own path to wellness. I suggest speaking like the people who have what they want in life and seeing if that edges them down the road to whatever it is they seek. And, since many students—and adults for that matter—don’t know what they want, listening out for what they might want and using their voice to get closer to finding what they might want seem essential skills we should take better care to nurture.

–Mr. Aaron Sherman, ELA Facilitator of Educational Opportunities

Our Messy, Creative Selves: Art, Transformation and Mindful Creativity


This week I worked with students in the Mosaic program with Kim Leddy and Steve Shapiro.  We wanted to provide students with an introduction to mindfulness and mindful creativity while also introducing the themes of transformation, identity and change.

Before I came into the classroom, Kim and Steve had used a variation on this mindfulness lesson (originally for teachers and staff) to introduce neuroplasticity and mindfulness to students.  In the lesson, they also had  students write metaphors for their brains.  Student responses ranged from “a runaway train” to “Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory.”

These activities prepared students by providing opportunities to think about what their brain is like now, and what they might want it to be like in the future- with the understanding that they can make changes with focused attention.  It was a great lead in to some creative, messy work.

Click on this link to read the rest of the article and to see many samples of students’ work.  

-Brandi Lust

Learning Space: Summer, One Long Learning Adventure

This is a picture of a senior looking through the “Summer of Mo” (Mosaic) presentations.

Every summer, we ask our students to treat the summer like one long learning adventure and when they return, each student creates some sort of visual presentation of that summer to share. Students walk around participating in a sort of archaeological dig to learn about their mo-mates experiences!





-Kim Leddy

Learning Space: We Looked, Then Looked Some More

Students explored this chilly morning, finding an object that appealed to them, looking at it for an extended period, and using words and pictures to describe their objects. Practicing focused looking and focused writing took energy they are unused to using, but by the end of 15 minutes, students had something to bring back to class and share. I enjoyed seeing students outside of our shared classroom space on school grounds; I enjoyed the particular care some took in handling their objects!


And then…

Our outside observations turned to writing.

-Kim Swensen

Writing and Weaving

In the pre-visits we explored fiber alongside words to think through literature,specifically identity, oppression, community, the writing process, media influence, feminism, the line between fine art and craft…

Students are reading The House on Mango Street, The Yellow Wallpaper, poetry, articles by Yoani Sanchez (Forbidden Voices)…

Students are writing short essays, research essays on cultural appropriation, “black-out poems”, artist statements, literary analysis, and narratives.

On Fiber, Text, and Commentary

Beryl Korot, “Text and Commentary”, 1977 

€˜Fiber: Sculpture 1960-€“present€™ is the first exhibition in 40 years to examine the development of abstraction and dimensionality in fiber art from the mid-twentieth century through to the present. Adapting age-old techniques and traditional materials, artists working in fiber manipulate gravity, light, color, mass, and transparency to demonstrate the infinite transformations and iterations of their material.€

Both writing and weaving are tools to store information using lines. On the loom you build a pattern line by line, creating a visual language/narrative. We construct sentences/words on a page in the same way, line by line. But how do we deconstruct these linear ideas of writing and weaving?

The artists in the fiber exhibition are responding and pushing back on to the grids (the loom, the tapestry etc.) rigidity and structure by constructing fiber art that strays farther from the wall to interact with the ceiling, the pedestal, the floor and space itself.

Experimental writing also deals with theories about €˜the grid€ and its limitations. For example, concrete poetry, or shape poetry (poetry in which the typographical arrangement of words is as important in conveying the intended effect as the conventional elements of the poem, such as meaning of words, rhythm, rhyme and so on) strays away from the page and its structured constraints.

Take a look at the video excerpt of artist Beryl Korot as she discusses how information has been encoded in lines and patterns throughout human history. 

-Emilia Garber